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AIIB to gain 25 new members

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) expects another 25 members to join this year, the Financial Times has reported.25 Jan 2017

The Chinese-led AIIB was announced in Beijing in 2014 with the aim of boosting investment in infrastructure in Asia and was established formally by the 57 member countries signing the Articles of Agreement in June 2015. It is expected to have initial capital of close to US$100 billion to invest in infrastructure projects and will be financed by individual country contributions proportionate to their economic size.

Ireland, Canada, Ethiopia and Sudan are among the countries expected to join this year, the Financial Times said.

Sir Danny Alexander, vice-president of the AIIB, told the Financial Times: "We have applications from a number of Europeans who didn’t join in the first wave, some Asian countries, South Americans and Canada has applied to join. So this year the membership will expand quite substantially."

Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB, told the newspaper that increased membership would help boost the organisation.

He also stressed China's role in the bank. "Now that China has developed, it is our turn to contribute," Jin said. "China needs to do something that can help it be recognised as a responsible leader."

China currently has the power to veto AIIB decisions, because of its economic size. However, Jin said last year that China has no plans to use its veto power over the bank, and that its power to do so will decline as new members join.

"There are still many countries on the waiting list, and when the new members join, China’s voting power will be reduced. Such de facto veto power will be lost gradually," Jin told China Daily at the time.

The AIIB has established a decision making process where a 'special majority' of two thirds of the members have three-quarters of the voting power. As the largest shareholder in the AIIB, China holds 26.06% of the voting power, but "we will not increase the special majority to keep China’s veto power in the future,” Jin said

The United States and Japan are the only major countries yet to join the bank, which is developing as an alternative source of financing to the US-led World Bank and the Japanese-led Asian Development Bank.

The AIIB has become a focal point in the struggle between the US and China over who will influence economic and trade rules in Asia. When the UK announced its plans to join the bank, the US told the Financial Times that this was part of a trend of "constant accommodation" to China.

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